Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bratislava, Slovakia

One of my favorite things about being in Vienna is that you can wake up one day and say, “Hm, I think I’ll visit a different country today.” Then, 14 euros and a couple hours later, you’ve done just that! November 1 is a Catholic Holiday called All Saints Day and so pretty much on that day everything is closed down. This includes the Austro-Amerika Institute and therefore meant: NO SCHOOL! Yes. Quite excellent indeed.
Since we had the day off, a bunch of us decided that it might be fun to spend the day in Vienna’s “Twin City” Bratislava, Slovakia. We got up pretty early to make it to the train by about 8:15 for our ride outta town. Luckily we gave ourselves plenty of time because, as usual, traveling is never as easy as you think. There was only brief confusion and everyone made it so I think the departure was an overall success.
When we arrived we took a Strassenbahn to the center of town so we could walk around and see the sites. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone could call that place Vienna’s twin city. Unless you clarify that it is Vienna's ghetto, fraternal twin. I know that there are grosser places farther east but comparatively, I thought Bratislava was kind of a dump. There wasn’t too much to see and a lot of the buildings seemed really old and run down.
We were still in Europe so of course there was a palace on the hill with a great view so we went to check it out. The palace was nice enough but not too elaborate. They were painting all the walls of the inner courtyard white so you can imagine how exciting that must have been. The view also would have been sweet except for the encroaching fog that seemed to be eating us up. It was still a decent view though and we spent a bit of time up there.
After that we walked around the town some more and got a bite to eat. Then we searched for the fun bronze statues they have around like this one:

Eventually we discovered that there was a cool castle carved out of a mountain that was about a 25 minute bus ride away so we jumped right on that! The grounds were closed so we didn’t get to go up close to it but it still looked really cool from down below. It was pretty much literally carved right out of the mountain and built up a little bit with rocks from the mountain so it was nice and camouflaged. It wasn’t the prettiest castle I’ve ever seen but it was definitely different which was very refreshing.
Best pumpkin in Slovakia
After that we were pretty much all wasted so we hopped on the train and went back home! We actually missed the first train so we had to wait another hour to catch the next one but it wasn’t too bad. The Euro goes farther here so I got some really cheap chocolate bars that kept me satisfied:). So that was my day in Slovakia! Definitely the best day I ever spent there!

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